September 3rd, 2008
11:48 PM ET
6 years ago

Gergen: Palin delivers

Palin addressed the RNC Wednesday.
Palin addressed the RNC Wednesday.

Republicans got everything they could possibly want from Sarah Palin tonight: she was a large, confident personality - one Democratic friend ruefully wrote that she reminded him of Ann Richards - and she delivered an extremely well crafted speech. Before the speech, Republican strategists told Dana Bash of CNN that they hoped that she would show viewers "a common touch with executive presence", and she definitely succeeded at that.

Three things in particular stood out:

1. She joked that the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull is ...lipstick. Clearly, in the next few weeks, she will play the role of a pit bull with lipstick. My sense is that she will very likely connect with blue collar America but may be much less successful in suburban America.

2. Her personal story is also one that will relate well to people. She has a quality of seeming like the girl next door.

3. She showed a lot of confidence in addressing energy toward the end of the speech, which gave her more substantive depth.

Now let us be clear: there will be tons of Democrats and others who will disagree with her and will take sharp exception with her views. Her jabs at Barack Obama and the Democrats were surprisingly personal at times. And she will face tough questioning ahead from the press. After all, there are still some serious questions about what kind of president she might be. We are going to have a rough and tumble race down the home stretch.

soundoff (1,124 Responses)
  1. S. North

    Hit a home run. Face it, the Republicans weren't fired up about this election. First order of business to win the election, have to get the faithful excited. She did it. She made me chuckle. A lapsed Republican at least roused from my nap.

    September 4, 2008 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  2. Pauline

    Senator Palin came across as an angry woman and did not explain to Americans why she and Senator McCain were a better choice. Palin seemed to mimic the rhetoric already being said and I expected her to share more policies, what inpires her and why she was the best pick for VP. Well, that may have been asking for much since she spent most of her time making quips.

    September 4, 2008 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  3. Kevin C

    " don't want a hockey mom for a VP. I want an experienced and knowledgeable person that can interact with heads of states and act like a head of state here at home. I want someone who acts Presidential…"

    Then you just disqualified Barack!!

    September 4, 2008 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  4. Jack

    Sad Angry Woman....

    September 4, 2008 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  5. Oseki Otens Evans

    Ahh! We`ve heard so much of the same from the republican party over and over and over again. Same scary stuff. At least Mitt Romney was right enough to list out all the wrongs with the U.S economy, admitting thereby, the woes of having a republican in the white house. The guys are robots and they lie and really dought themselves at the same time! No no, not this time. We say ENOUGH!

    September 4, 2008 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  6. DP

    The same Republican venom filled propaganda loaded with falsehoods. Not one new idea or plan to fix something just hate filled jabs and no substance...nothing new from these people.

    September 4, 2008 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  7. Dimslie

    What the hell does Gergen know about suburban America?

    September 4, 2008 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  8. Pat

    Sarah Palin (aka barracuda/pitt bull) , tonight, gave Joe Biden permission to take the gloves off in the vice-presidential debates.

    September 4, 2008 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  9. Former Independent

    I no longer need to read the angry hateful comments from Obama supporters on these posts on CNN.

    Thank God!

    We now know who is going to win in November.

    McCain/Palin 08.

    September 4, 2008 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  10. James Snyder

    It's obvious to me from watching the last two nights of the Republican convention what the Mc Cain campaign's game plan is: Circling the wagons, and resurrecting the usual boogeymen (if you'll permit me to mix my metaphors).
    Instead of presenting a plan to heal our sick economy, Mc Cain intends to go back to Bush's base, the small town Evangelical, and say "I am now one of you, so put me into office"; no actual proposals, just using the tired old "tax and spend" charge; no plan to deal with the crazies in the Middle East, just scare tactics (I'm waiting for the Terrorist Threat-O-Meter to go up a color or two for no good reason a couple of weeks before the election...just watch and see if it doesn't!!).
    I was appalled at the way Gov. Palin grabbed her poor Downs' Syndrome son after her speech and displayed him against her blouse like a brooch, and how just a few days ago her secretly-pregnant teen daughter was carrying her little brother and his blanket on stage in an attempt to hide her pregnancy, and tonight she's on stage in a maternity dress holding hands with her boyfriend (poor guy looked like a deer caught in the headlights)....it seems that being able to reproduce is a matter of pride, and that Republicans are still willing to come clean only after they're caught.
    God help us if the Republican ticket wins...it won't be four more years of the same...it will be four excruciating years after 8 dreadful years.

    September 4, 2008 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  11. cv

    I wonder if CNN thinks this is important to post?!?
    And 4. This is a woman who puts a job before her child. We all heard and see that she has a special needs INFANT. Instead of parading your son around at this hour in such a loud atmosphere, mom, maybe next time can you forget about your personal agenda and look out for the needs of your child and keep him home with a BABYSITTER!! And dad, did you not see you little girl wiping her spit and poking at your drugged up, i mean sleeping child. How, dad, do you plan to care for your children while your wife is at work, when you have shown the world that your judgement is a little off to have a little kid watching your special needs infant in such a manner. Can I repeat INFANT. Is there a Child Protective Services in Alaska or is this not considered neglectful parenting. Will the repugs just blow this all off as being cute?!?

    September 4, 2008 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  12. AA

    The GOP has just shown what it is all about.

    Fear, lies, hate, division, hypocrisy and just plain out and out lack of intelligence.

    The whole night went by with not a mention of what they plan on doing nor how.

    You know it is fascinating. How in the world can people think that anything that anyone of the speakers talked about makes an iota of difference in their lives? How blind?

    Peace.

    September 4, 2008 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  13. TK

    I beg to disagree. My take from her speech is that it compares with Rudy Gulliani's, which I thought was nothing else but cheap lies and insults directed against Obama.

    September 4, 2008 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  14. Lou R

    The viewers/listeners to the Palin VP speech (she accepted, but has not been nominated so her acceptance is mute) observed a wolf in sheeps clothing. Reports emerging from her home town, Wasilla, Alaska, show a mean spirited controlling person who demands her way. Palin's speech, as written for her, was well rehearsed with a reasonable delivery, however it lacked substance. John McCain has doomed his candidacy with his choice who had the audacity to insult the media; Dumb for her team, Excellent for the opposition.

    September 4, 2008 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  15. Dimslie

    Dear Carl from MI:

    You need to get your TV fixed.

    September 4, 2008 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  16. How Dare YOU!!!!

    Republicans preach that they don't want the government to bail out poor people. Well, community organizing is about showing poor folks how to do for themselves. 'This is not something to be disrespected or laughed about.

    By the way – stop ignoring his 6 years as state senator and 4 years of US senate work. Only in America can a black man get so blatantly denigrated and it be socially acceptable. Sen. Obama has broken the barrier – has made history – and you're trying to take this away from us. However, you republicans remind us everyday what an amazing feat it has been for a black man to be so successful

    September 4, 2008 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  17. Susan

    if Sarah Palin is like the girl nex door, I am sure glad she is not my next door neighbor. She is for killing Polar bears and shoots wolves herself from a helicoper. Thank God my neighbor isn't crazy like she is. She can't hold a candle to Obama in respect to experience and abiliy o lead the country. I am so afraid for his country should she ever became President. Also I fail to see how being a POW quialifies one to be President.

    September 4, 2008 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  18. W. Wunderlich

    Sarah Palin is one sick chick. Some referred to her speech as "sarcastic and shrill," but that is putting it far too mildly. It was downright dishonest and sleazy–a pack of carefully crafted Republican lies dressed up in a pretty little post-partum package. I'd call it Karl Rove with lipstick, and with a little touch of Reagan's con-artistry and Marie Osmond's Barbie doll veneer. At this rate we'll have four more years of Republican sleazeballs "taking on Washington" lobbyists by cutting more corporate taxes and finally fulfilling Dick Cheney's longstanding goal of drilling in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge. And, could David Gergen and David Brooks please explain to us how John McCain's dropping bombs and napalm on Vietnamese villages constitutes "heroism"?

    September 4, 2008 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  19. Rob

    she is great, she will play well in suburbia with professional women and stay at home moms. in no way do i think she relate only to rural america she is connecting well with working professional moms.hillary supporters will not connect with her and vice versa. we are not one large block of XX stereotypical voting.

    September 4, 2008 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  20. Sam Dorsey

    Mr. Gergen, did you mean that imply that all of the "girls next door" look just like Sarah Palin? I hope not because the "girl next door" to me is Black and a Democrat. Furthermore, I beleive Palin's speech writer "opened" all personal attack doors for her and that she became "fair game" for the Dems.

    September 4, 2008 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  21. Mark Smith

    I can't believe how sick supporters of John McCain are. How stupid can Americans be to vote them into power after GWB?

    September 4, 2008 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  22. truth

    People wake up. McCain just may win this thing with Palin in his ticket. Most viewers could care less about what the Obama supporters on this site think. At least this woman is not a victim and stood up to all the crap being throw in her direction. I will not vote McCain and have serious problems with Obama, but this woman is tough and principled. Can anyone say Obama is principled? She's a true conservative that may well win this thing for McCain. you guys need to wake up and get rid of the unity trip. That a pipe dream.

    September 4, 2008 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  23. Kamika

    I am so over both parties at this point. In my opinion as voters it is now choosing the lesser of two evils. Its all talk and no action by both parties. I feel like I am back in high school and we are voting for Homecoming Queen and King. Democrats plan is unrealistic. Republicans don't have a plan. In four years, I believe that China will have purchased the United States in exchange for the debt that we owe.
    Go China '12

    September 4, 2008 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  24. Trevor Guerlain

    The Truth Hurts the Chosen One: Community Organizer as noble a role as it may be is NOT a key skill set for the next President of the US.
    Your 15 minutes of fame are almost up, Senator Obama.

    McCain/Palin '08

    September 4, 2008 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  25. mike

    Let us all make the GOP happy and get our 17 year old daughters pregnant. After all, the GOP has God and morals on their side and if it is now ok for the GOP then it must be ok for God. And then after the babies are born, let us never help them again. Don't give them a good education, health care, jobs, or social security. Just send them off to die in war. That is the true way of the GOP! Pro-life for 9 months and then...hey, you're on your own!!!

    September 4, 2008 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
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